Compacts | Opinion
Column: Watch out doing business with Seminole casino

"As Florida politicians celebrate a long-term gambling deal with the Seminoles that will supposedly produce billions for the state, Fanit Panofsky has two words of advice for those doing business with the tribe: "Watch out."

Until last month, Panofsky owned and operated the Contour Day Spa at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood. It was a place for massages, facials, pampering and relaxation.

Now it's the latest frontline between the tribe and a business partner who feels burned.

On March 17, Panofsky was abruptly evicted. She recalls being awakened by a 6 a.m. phone call from an employee who was supposed to open the spa and fitness center. The worker arrived to find 50 security guards surrounding the entrance.

"They wouldn't let her in," Panofsky said. "I got the head of security on the phone and he told me to call the tribe's attorneys. ‘At this hour?' I said. He said, ‘They're expecting your call.' "

An e-mail later sent by the tribe's attorneys informed Panofsky, "The Contour Spa is closed – permanently, and the premises have been retaken.""

Get the Story:
Michael Mayo: Can Seminoles be trusted to honor gambling deal? (The South Florida Sun-Sentinel 4/25)